June 10, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
AOPA has sent two letters to the operator of the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in an effort to determine whether a new set of use and overnight charges was developed in compliance with FAA policy.
The association has also made the FAA aware that the initial faxed response of the airport’s management to a June 7 letter from Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airport advocacy, failed to provide “answers to the very specific questions which we posed to the Coos County Airport District.”
On June 9, Dunn reiterated his request for information in a second letter to the management of the North Bend, Ore., airport. AOPA plans to analyze the method used by the airport management in establishing the fees when considering further action.
AOPA inquired about the fee-setting process used by the airport after receiving information through the Airport Support Network that the new fee schedule had been enacted in what appeared to be an arbitrary manner, with no comparison of fees schedules at comparable airports or input from tenants or aircraft operators using the airport.
“While the airport clearly has the authority to implement a rate and fee structure that will make the airport as self-sufficient as possible under the current airport conditions as provided under the Federal Aviation Administration grant assurances, such fees must be fair and reasonable without any unjust discrimination,” Dunn wrote on June 7.
He pointed out that airport management may not establish fees “simply to ‘bank’ funds past what would be ordinarily necessary” to fund airport development, operations or the local matching share of grants.
When the airport management responded with only a faxed magazine article and a Wikipedia item on landing fees, Dunn requested the information again on June 9, and he set forth the principles applicable to establishing airport rates and charges under FAA policy.
His second letter to Theresa M. Cook, the airport district’s executive director, contained these specific requests for information:
A copy of Dunn’s June 9 letter was also sent to the FAA’s Seattle, Wash., Airports District Office.
The National Business Aviation Association was also reviewing the potential impact of the fees on its members, Dunn said.
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